KENNY BROWN / 1919-2014

Posted On March 18th, 2014 -

24-hour vigil will honor beloved business leader with royal ties

Timothy Hurley /

The legacy and life of the late Kenny Brown, Native Hawaiian business and political leader, will be celebrated at a 24-hour vigil at the Royal Mausoleum of 20140319_OBIT_MUGHawaii Chapel starting at midday Thursday.

Hundreds are expected to attend the event, called “Ku i ka Mana,” which is being organized by a group of people whose lives were touched by the man who died last month at the age of 94.

“We all feel compelled to honor an extraordinary man,” said Maile Meyer, owner of Native Books/Na Mea Hawaii. “I’m thrilled to be doing this.”

Brown, great-grandson of John Papa I‘i, a member of the court of Kamehameha III, had a resume that was long and impressive. Among other titles, he was chairman of the Bishop Museum, the East-West Center and the Hawaii Community Development Authority.

He ran for lieutenant governor in 1966 and served as a special assistant to Gov. John A. Burns before serving two terms in the state Senate.

In the business world, Brown owned the Waianae Cable Co. and would later serve as chairman of the board of Oceanic Cablevision. He served on numerous boards of directors, including Amfac, Pan Pacific Development Co., Emerald Hotels Corp. and Hawaiian Airlines.

He was the longtime president and chairman of Hawaii island’s Mauna Lani Resort, which under his leadership was a forerunner in preserving, protecting and incorporating Hawaiian culture as part of the visitor experience.

He also founded the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association with Hawaiian scholar George Kanahele.

During the ’80s and early ’90s, Brown was chairman of the board of The Queen’s Health Systems in Honolulu and worked to redirect the mission of Queen’s to serve Hawaiians and the less privileged sectors of Hawaii’s population.

As president of the Hawaii Maritime Center, he pushed for ways to support the voyages of the Hokule‘a and the work of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Designer Momi Cazimero, who served with Brown on the Queen’s board, said Brown was a powerful role model who inspired personal growth and leadership in others.

“Kenny lived the principles and wisdom of his kupuna on whose shoulders he stood. And now we stand on his shoulders,” she said.

Different topics that were special interests of Brown’s will be discussed in three-hour segments throughout the 24 hours. The public is invited to come and go at any time. Parking will be available at the Honolulu Central Seventh-day Adventist Church, 2313 Nuuanu Ave., mauka of the Royal Mausoleum, or Mauna‘ala.

The event will start at noon Thursday with a family gathering and personal remembrances. Community health and wellness will be the focus of the next segment from 3 to 6 p.m., featuring representatives of the Queen’s Medical Center and other health organizations and foundations that shared Brown’s vision.

The third segment, from

6 to 9 p.m., will focus on business and commerce. Waikiki businesses, hotel industry professionals and other industry leaders are expected to discuss the future of tourism.

Land stewardship will be discussed from 9 p.m. to midnight, while Hawaiian music and culture will be addressed from midnight to

3 a.m. From 3 to 6 a.m. the topic will be ties among the peoples of Polynesia. Brown on several occasions traveled to Aotearoa, or New Zealand, and he envisioned a Pacific ohana.

From 6 to 9 a.m. the topic will be “Justice, Governance, Advocacy and Leadership,” while the final segment at 9 a.m. will be “Reflections and Voyaging into the Future.”

“He was a voyager,” Meyer said. “He was out over the horizon in everything he did.”

At the end, lei offerings will be made at the Kamehameha and Queen Emma crypt, and then there will be a short walk to place lei at the grave sites of the Papa I‘i, at Oahu Cemetery.

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